Name – Glenn Harris
Age – 70
Where are you from – I was born in the Midwest, lived for a decade or so in Berkeley, California, and am currently a long-time resident of Hood River, Oregon.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc.
Let’s see…. German-Irish heritage, primarily. No siblings. A daughter, son-in-law, and a couple of grand-kids living about three hours away. My immediate “family” consists of two feline sisters named Stella and Maxine who also happen to belong to the detective in my series. As for education, I’ve got a B.S. in physics and a Ph.D. in English, both from Indiana University. And, yes, I realize that’s kind of an odd combination.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
There are four books in my McCall-Malone mystery series so far and I’m nearly done with the fifth. The big news is that the four published books are being made available in print-on-demand from Amazon. Until recently, they’ve only been available as eBooks. The first one, Turnabout is Fatal Play, is already in the local library (which feels great) and the second, Decease and Desist, may be out by the time this interview appears. All my future books, of course, will be available both electronically and in print.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing? When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Easier to answer these two questions together because my first “published” work was a little poem in my second grade newsletter and from then on I considered myself a writer. It wasn’t what I did for a living until the last five or six years, but I was always writing something, throughout my various careers—a few of which, such as newspaper reporting and public relations, actually depended on writing.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Nothing more than a lifelong desire to write a book.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I guess I’d describe it as simple and straightforward. The one thing I do NOT want to do is over-write.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I usually come up with the titles first and then play with mysteries that would fit, but I can’t tell you where any of the titles came from. I just putter around until they come to me.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I recently got a review that said of one of my books, simply, “It’s just a plain old good detective story.” That’s it. That’s the message.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
My books are contemporary detective novels set in Portland, Oregon. Almost all of it is realistic.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Several of the secondary characters (and one of the villains) are based closely on people I have known in my life. Clint McCall has a lot in common with me, though he’s much better at everything. I’ve never met a woman like Devon Malone. I sincerely wish I had.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life? a mentor?
This is going way back, but I think the Winston Science Fiction series that I read as a kid did the trick. I loved them and wanted to be able to create worlds like that. And my first serious efforts were at science fiction. But I ended up creating worlds a little closer to home.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am fan of all sorts of mystery series, including cozies. Right now I’m reading Plot Boiler, a Black Cat Bookshop Mystery by Ali Brandon. Next up is Shattered Palms, a Lei Crime novel by Toby Neal.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I just discovered Brandon, in fact. I’m always finding new authors to enjoy.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
My fifth McCall-Malone Mystery, Grave Reckoning, is around 60,000 words with 20,000 or so to go.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I’ve been a member of a local critique group for many years. They currently meet at my house, in fact, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be the writer I am without them.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not that I can think of. I’d take a minor character or two and perhaps one sub-plot out of my second book. I got a little carried away.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Second grade, remember, so it seems like it’s always been there.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
How about the blurb for Grave Reckoning, the book I’m writing now: “In the midst of coping with their own relationship, the past comes around to haunt both Clint McCall and Devon Malone: an old foe seeking revenge on McCall and an estranged relative seeking help from Malone. Meanwhile, they’re hired by a woman to find her daughter who’s been missing for more than a decade and might now be a member of a sinister cult headquartered in the Portland area, a cult apparently willing to kill to protect its own. McCall and Malone find themselves facing deadly threats from both the past and the present as they desperately race to find the young woman and keep themselves alive.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Descriptions. I’m great at dialogue and lousy at descriptions.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Nora Roberts, particularly when she’s writing as J. D. Robb. She’s a master of combining hard-bitten police procedural with romance – and a real inspiration in how much her writing has evolved since her early days of Silhouette romances.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not much more than driving to Portland (about an hour West) now and then to confirm a location.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Cathleen Rehfeld, reputed to be the best artist in the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area (where I live).
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Following the damned outline after I’ve gone to the trouble of making it. Sometimes the characters insist on going in another direction.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I hope I learn more about writing every time.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Every writer in the world, I suspect, has days they’re sure that they’re writing complete crap. You just have to make it to the next day and keep writing in the meantime.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Only that I hope they enjoy my books.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I remember the first “grown-up” book I read, when I was eight or nine: Star Bridge by Jack Williamson and James E. Gunn. I read it twice the day I bought it. It was both a revelation and another huge inspiration.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series always makes me laugh. I’ve been known to tear up at animal rescue videos.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
It would be a kick to chat with Arthur Conan Doyle.
Fiona: What do you want written on your headstone and why?
Actually I want my ashes scattered on my favorite walking path. If I had a headstone it might say, “He was here. Then he wasn’t.”
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Not exactly hobbies. I spend a lot of time reading and working out.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
On TV, crime procedurals, not surprisingly, like Elementary and NCIS. Also superhero shows like Daredevil and Supergirl. In movies, everything from Forbidden Planet to Love, Actually.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I’m basically a meat and potatoes guy who still likes the Beatles. Favorite color – green.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I have done a lot of other things. I worked my way through college as a librarian and taught English literature in graduate school. I was a reporter for a daily newspaper in the Midwest. I helped found a K-12 private school in Oakland, California, and was a teacher/administrator there for years. I was an editor of extension courses for the University of California. I was managing editor of a weekly newspaper in Woodland, Washington (and witnessed the Mt. St. Helen’s eruption while there). My last and longest career was as a corporate executive at a telephone company. I enjoyed them all and wish I’d had time for even more. But writing detective novels is still the best.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? www.glennharris.us
Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/GlennHarrisAuthor/